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By Otto Ki.otz. LI,.I)., i'.K.A.S. 

[Head March 1, 1907.] 

Destructive and calamitous as has liocn tho .Sun KranciMco 
earthqiiaicp. yet from the scientific .stun(l|Kiinl it has given a 
decided impt>tus to the study of seismology, and it has hastened 
the day when our knowledge of the interior of the earth will be 
of a definite character, which it i.s not now, if we except the com- 
paratively few feet that we have p<'nelrnted into the earth. 

Nature is an aggrega'tion of facts, and it is the sphere of the 
investigator to correlate these facts and to explain their existence. 
In the effort to solve the latter advancement is generall'; gained 
by the method of elimination. 

As facts do not generally admit of mathematical anal.vsis, 
theories and hypotheses are advanced for their ex|)lunation. 
These temporary fortresses must then Ik> able ,o resist thi' relent- 
less cannon of observations and of criticism, for the enemy gives 
absolutely no quarter. Error succumbs to the first broadside; 
pladsibility turns away many a shot and can stand a long siege. 
It serves a good purpose in permitting the enemy to reinforce its 
resou/ces to keep up the attack until either the fortress is razed 
or a new one has beeti built within, built with the impregnable 
nickel-steel armor of truth. 

Perhaps a brief review of some of the reasons assigned as the 
cause of earthquakes, leaving out those of supernatural origin, 
may not be unprofitable. 

We know that there are ma"y sedimentary deposits or forma- 
tions constituting part of the crust of the earth. We know that 
they are more or less soluble. We know that the immediate 
crust of the earth is intersected and traversed by subterranean 
water-courses. We know that these waters when brought to the 
surface are more or less charged with salts— such as lime or so- 
dium—dissolved from the formations through which the water 
passed. Xow let us put two and two together. If a subterranean 
stream discharges so many cubic feet of water per day, and each 
cubic foot contains so many grains of lime, how long will it take 

i*i^i\^^ ^ 




to ciirrv iiHiiy »" miiny toiiH or n mi' iniIrM of liiiicstoiii' rock? 
The rc!iult of our invrnt ixiil ion is ii lioli' in the (.'■"omul, or rullwr u 
holi' in tl»' ciirlli, unil if wi' nmkc llmt lioic liin ciioukIi. Koniclhinn 
in Koinu to liapiKMi— the roof ia KolnK to colluiwc— unil we huvp an 
(•urtli(|Uiiki'. This in liricf Is the Kinstur/ or downthrow theory. 
Now some eiirthiiuukes have hup|)enccl whi j niiiiht 1m' e\|)lairieil 
hy the ahove. I>ut. for, by tar the hirner ninnlier. otiii'r reasons 
must lie SI' i^ht. liefore dismissing the aliove. it may 1h' su)J- 
Hesled, tliat. although suhlerraiiean waters niu.<t ami do hollow- 
out the earth's erust. the formations slowly adjust themselves to 
the minute ehannes eontinuously wroucht hy the ae'ion of water, 
so that exeossively lar^e <'avities are improliahle if not iinjiossihle. 
One of the oMest Ix'liefs ahout earthquakes is their intimate 
assoeiations with voleunoes. This opinion died a har! death, in 
tact, I am not sure that it is quite deSd yet however Professor 
Milne has shown, especially for Japa. —the principal earthquake 
country— "that the many quakes of that archipelapo seemed to 
show an avoidance of the volcaidc centres which are numerous 
in the interior, and to indicate that volcanic eucrty was seldom 
concerned '.i generating them." 

Volcanoes are as a rule shallow-seated, while the movements 
ot earthquakes are tectonic, that is, affecting large areas of the 
earth's crust and miles in depth. 

Another theory that was advanced some forty yi-ars ago 
was the tidal theory. Assuming the earth to be a molten mass 
covered by only a thin shell, it seemed plausible to have tidal 
effects by the attraction of the moon and of the sun Spring and 
neap tides in the ocean would be manifested by earthquakes of 
greater and less intensity ; similarly for perigee and apogee. 
However, facts don't fit in right, and the forness has been aban- 

When we say that earthquakes are the result of the adjust- 
ment of strains and stresses within toe earth, the statement is one 
practically accepted by all seismologists, at the same time, it is 
far from explaining the cause. What sets up these strains and 
stresses, and if there are various agencies at work, what is their 
relative effect? 

It is almost axiomatic to assume the earth as a cooling body. 
Now on this assumption a very pretty scientific theory was ad- 
vanced some thirty years ago by Lowthian Green, it was the 
tetrahedral theory of the figure of the earth. Let us follow it for 

t S00S28 




a moiniMit. Sturtiiiji with the cnrtli as a nH.ltm lun^s. uc Imvr a 
•hi-n- UH the r(':»itlt nf the action of Rravity. If w*- rcvolvr tin* 
we ohtaiii »ii ohliitr spliiTniil. with tlattcniMl jv^Icm — 
tin t'-slmiM')!. the whorter axis Immiik the one of ri'Volutie:.. 

I'lii' uiiunliir velocity of rotalioii liciriK 'iniforrii aiifl constant 
tlic wliolc Imily wdiilil l«' in stnUIr ciinililir' itn. If now any iorcc 
or forces arc iirouKlit into play to disturlt tiiis ;'(iuilil)riiiin strains 
ami stresses are set up, anil a ruunter tendency I'l relieve tliesi- 
stiatiis i,: called forth to restore et|nilihriinn. It is at ;his jnnctnre 
that the pro|)ert_\ of the tetriihedmn comes into play. TrKinu 
as our principal ftisturhinK force of onr sup)H>seiI Ii(|ui(l or ni>>lten 
Hp!ieroid of n-volntion. that of dissipation of heat or cooling pnt- 
cess. we find that tiie cnist or shell of the cLrtli thi ■< toadjnsi itself 
to the stresses set up by tiie contracting; body, and d(M's so by (he 
line of least resistance, that is. by spreading; the stn'sses over the 
greatest surface, with the resi.''. tfiat the t*'i»dency of the surface 
of theearth is t()assuni( the telrahedral form. /.c. of an eijuilateral 
pyramid. Or one n ay say that the contractinu; earth clian^cs 
into that form whereby the original sn|M'rHcial area is n:aintained. 
For etpial surfaces the volumes of the sphere and i"trahedron are 
t(t each otiier as l:.5i5; and for eqiuil volumes the surfaces are as 

N'either the theory *?or its advocates ^ives us a four-cornered 
earth, its oriKiual condition and axial rotation wouM prevent that. 
♦ thi' theory (Uws cI;-;'! that the tenden« '■ however slight or 
gri»at in eflfect. nuist be towards shaping the surface into timt of a 
tetralunlron. or tetrahrdroid. the latter having curved .surfaces 
or edges. If a complete transformation from the sphere to the 
tetraliednni took place, which is of course imposs'hle. *ve woidd 
have, taking' the axis of the eartii co-inci<lent witli an axis of the 
tetrahedron rhrough one of its apices, a north polar sea. which is 
the case; three great equatorial oceans; a south po'ar land cap, 
which too is the case; and there would W six grand m< untain 
ranges, tliree diverging from the south pole, corresponding to 
tliree edges of the tetrahedron, and t' other three encircling the 
northern hemisphere, being along the remaining three edges of 
the pyramid. 

In the tetrah'dron every corner has a surface opposite to it. so 
that for the eari ,iis would mean that land and wato** are anti- 
podal, which is fairly well represented in the actual co'ditionn. 
Another result would l)e that land masses would be i)road in tlie 


Tin N»A1 -I'll IV». 


riorlliirii lii'iiiis|,liirr ami tii|it'r lutturiln ilic muieli. wliirli tiK> 
unriTH Willi niir KiiPKm|iliy. ImvitmIv, i\\v iiii'iiiis hIiihiIiI roii- 

triii't loHiirilx Ihc iiortli, ii I'oiiiliiion fai'ly «,ll Imri it. 

KiirtliiTiiiori'. llir iiiirlli |>iil;ir ami U'iiiji rc|iiVM'iiiril In u 
-iirfai-c mill tlir smilli [Hilar iiiii' liy a riiriiiT. It wmilil fnllnu tliat 
thr llulii'iiiiiK iif till' rarili ill till' «imtliiTri lii'iiii«|ilii.n' wimlil lie 
Irss than ill Ihi' iinrtlicrii: ami aKaiii. mavity wiiulil incri.aM- Irss 
rapiilly tiiwanN llii> siiiill. {Hilr than Imvanls the iiorili pnlr. 
Itiith tlii'sc ciiiisiiliTaliiiii.-i liavi' Utii ,-iiiliriiH'(l liy iri'iiilctii' ainl 
Im-ihIiiImiii nl>si-r\'aliuiis. 

If till' ti'trahrilral tliciiry was .■ITi'i-iivi' at III.' carlv staci' iil' 
tile rartli's I'xistciiiT. ill ci.iiiK lis many of (Hir inniintaJii svsleins 
anil iiiir |i<ilar [iliysical I'limlitiiins. tn-ilay with a pretty riKiil rnist 
its cITiTi must lie vanishint'ly small anil iinri'rni;iii/alili' as dur to 
that thriiry. 

\Vi' may rrfcr to anoth.T thiMiry iif the liunn. of ilu- earth, 
eiintaineil in a pa|N'r presented liy ,1. II. .leans In the Kiiyal Soeiely 

in 1:k|J. This il ry sluiws. uiiiler eertaiii assiimptiiins. that llie 

earth was pear-slia|ieil at a irrtaiii slaRe of its existence, and 
cimtractinc assumed the spherical fiirm. I eanniit in '.his place 
pursue this siiliject (if the fiiinre (if the earth any further; it was 

iinly alluded tn tii sliiiw iine iif the factiirs— ih intnietinj! fiirces. 

ever active, whereliy strains and .stres,ses are .set-iip, anil withiiut 
which 11(1 earth({iiake.s are |Hissilile. 

Kisher '\\i his " Physics .if the Karth's Crust " ISK!). eiunlials 
tile tlie.iry (if in.iuntain ImildinK a.s U'injidue to the secular codlii ■ 
(if the earth and the aecompaiiyiiiK c.intracti.ins, liiil this , .ii..! 
not pr.' smaller motions t.i which eartli(|iiakes nia\- lie re- 
leuated. Arrlienius considers the crust of the I'arth compara- 
tively thin; at a depth of alioiit 40 miles to nierjje into a hot Hui.l 
mass, the inagnia, due tn the increa.sin« teni|ii'rature. From the 
dei'lX'st boring on the earth the of teir.iierature is aliout 
1°F. for 51 feet, or .say 100°F. [x-r mile. IVyond a depth of aliout 
2(K) miles the magma assumes the gaseous form. He writes 
"the earth as well as the sun contrai-ts. whereliy heat is envolved 
and iiip contraction partly ."rreste.! or decreased. Xevert lieless 
the .arth slowly shrinUs. This jiertains es|iecially to the interior 
of the earth, the temix.ratiire of the surface is almost wholly 
.lue lo radiation from the sun, and in a small ilegree upon the 
character of the atmosphere. It may be assumed that, broadly 
s[)eaking, the radiation of the sun and the nature of the atmos- 


Tii\\>M-ri i\s. 


pli.T.. ,in- cim-iaiii |, f,,l|„„, i||,.r,.fMr.. ihui i| rii-r of ih, 

.•urth ttill iK.l f,.ll,m ih.. -hriiikiMK "f tlir ini.TiMr. LMmv- an.l 

ttr.Mkl..« will U. pr..,l,»,.,l. uii.i ii i, eh,. K..|„.riil ,■. h,,!,,,, ,1 „. 

tliH 1^ III.' priiiciiml ri'ii-,,,, f„r ih,. m| 'i, ,,f i| ,. ,„rf.„,, i,,,,, ,„.„„,. 
lain clmins. " 

Tlial fHrili,|iiakr« ar.. iliii' k. an a<ljn:<lin,'ni i,f Hirc-,-^ mi Hi,. 
■..irlh'. ..riHi i< „,|,„i,„.,| |,v all i„v,.„iKai„r,, luil ,in Ih,. ,.«„«. „r 

thi.«lr,..H«.,. ilu.r.. i, far fr, naiiiniity „f .,|iiiii.,ii. 

Allh„„Kli «,ii„- ,.arili,|iiak,.. an. '.h,,. i„ ,l„«nrHll-, anil Inrai 
"I"--' f. v„l,.«ni,. ,.ni|,ii„n,. y,.| |„r ih,. ^ iiiiii n 
misMM .,r r,.a,„n,- „ii,s, Ik. f,„„„l. Of .h,. lain.r, |I„. .■;,ntra...i„.. 
for..,.. ulr,.a,ly alliuhil l„, i, Ih,. ,„„. first t„,..| it„.|f „,„| |,a,, 

f..r lis s,i|,,K,rt at l,.ast Kr,.al plaiisiliilitv. Ii ha- I i, ,.„„i|,at,.,| 

liy alil,. inv..-tiKal,.is. ttitli.iiit h„«,-,', l„.i„K „|,|,. ^ImlK „r 
^atisfa..tiirily t.i ,lis|iiw. ,,f [i ,.,,iii|,|,.t,.|y . 

l^.avinK<,iit,.f,..m»i,l..rali.iiitl arth as a ,.,.„IlnK„r,.,„iira,.|. 

in« lM.,ly, l,.t us ,,i,.|,ir,. f, ,.iirs,.|v,.s || A,|, ai anv tin,,. i„ „ 

slat.. ,if iH.rf..,.t ..,|iiililiri,im. i|„.r,. l„.iiiK „,, str,.ss,.s ,m iis snrfa.... 
n..r in tl». ..rust. U't us ii„i,. th,. plivsi,.al,m.:<. V ■■ IicIkIus 
of th.. mountains, ll... faulting ami f.,l,lintf „f th,. ro,.k 
the ilcpths .if th.. .>,.,.aii ami Ih,. .lislrilmtion ..f lami .,,,1 ,val..r 
Xow l.'t th,. ntino.s|)h..ri,. inllu..n<.,.s ,„in,. inio phiv- rain ami 
xm.w, heut un<l .,,1,1 -t,.BPtli.>r with th,. varviiiK utn„,sph,.ri,. 
pr,..s«ur... Th.. pn-,.xistinK ...,uilil,riinii will U. ii„„„..|iat..|v 
.lwturl.,.,1; th,. wnt..r. as rippl..». .•r....ks. ami stn.anis will 
iM'Kin Its work .if .Tosion ami .Icnmlalion: hpat ami fr.isl will 

assist in th(. ilisint..Krati.)n of in.Hintain,.s. anil tl ^.an 

hp<U mljoininK ll,,. ...mlinonts wil |„a,|,.,| l,v ..miriiioiis aiii.itints 

of <l..|ritus oarri,..!, ,h,. laml. r„|,.ss tli,.r,. is a ...intinn.ins 
and simultanpoiis adjustment of thr ..hanit,. of pn-ssiir,.. the str,.ss,.s 
si't up will lie ..iiiiinhitiv,. ami ..ontinii,. .so until tlicv ..x,-..,..l tho 
hinit .if elasth-ity. wli..n riiptur,. must take pla(.p In ri'stor,. ..r|uili- 
Imum for th.- tinic^. Riiptur.. woiil.l n......s.sarilv !«■ a< 

panied byparthiiuakps. 

It is „l)vi,iiis th,.r,.f<ir.- that mctcori.. .,r atm.)sph..ri,. inHu(.n....s 

arp oapal)!.. .if .sotting up slrrssps .,n the ..arth's siirfa.... It i.s 

safe to .say that the whole surface of th.. earth is in a .-onstant 
tremor due to str,..sses. Rut liesi.les the general ..on.lition then- 
are other fact.,rs that ...iine into play, and lo.-alize in a measure 
the .seismie disturl>an<.... These are moimfain masses and ocean 

depths, espeeially if they are contiguous. 




Hpcakius coiicrally, inountains arp not ma.-^scs rrstiiiK upon 
the surface (if tlip partli, Ijut niiisl lie consiilcrcd as masses iiii- 
inersed in the eartli, just as an ieeherc is immersed in tlie water. 
The greater tlie part that |)riijeits aliove the water, the greater 
must l)e the part lieiieath the surface, for the amount of water 
displaced nuist he e(|Ual to tlie floating mass, tliere 
would not he eiiuilihriuni. Somewhat similar it is witli the moim- 
tains. Were they resting on the surface, the stresses set up hy 
the stUJerimposed mass wttuld not only he eiifirmous, but would 
be greater than the crust could support. Kurthermore as a su(x>r- 
imposed mass it would materially affect the force of gravity in the 
adjoining region. The tn'.)st noted investigations of this (luestion 
was with ■ -fcrence to the attraction of the Himalayas in coimec- 
tion with the Cireat Trigonometrical Survey of India. I'endulum 
observations have shown conclusive iy l)oth in India and in Am- 
erica that this is not the case. However complete ecpiilibritim 
or isostasy does not obtain, and hence the residual strains and 

It is obvious how through meteoric agencies cycles of changes 
are produced. The mountains hy decrements are wandering sea- 
ward, the continents are lightening, and the ocean l)ed is being 
loaded, producing a deep-seated inflow from the sea towards the 
land. These changes are continually taking place, the earth's 
crust and surface are undergoing constant transformation, how- 
ever minute; the strains and stresses are continually responding 
to one another; vast rock formations that seem rigid are by the 
slow process of time bent and contorted as if made of wire. But 
when these responses are not synchronous, when there is a lag, 
equilibrium can only be restored by rupture. This rupture will 
be along the line of least resistance, and this is generally found in 
a geological fault, an old rent in the, so well illustrated in the 
California earthquake of last April. 

If the earth were a homogeneous body or if at least it were 
composed of concentric shells each of homogeneous matter, then 
the geodetic surveyor when carrying on large trigonometric surveys 
would not be troubled with closing errors, other than those arising 
from observations. There would be no error due to deflection 
of the plumb line. As complete isostasy does not however exist, 
these observed discordances, due to the unsynunetrical distribu- 
tion of matter, are a measure of iso,stasy. 

Dr. J. F. Hayford has examined the data furnished by the 




triaiifsulutiuii cit tlip I'nited States, anil Ims fciiiiid 71 miles as tlio 
most probable value for the (leptli of eiim|)etisation, that is, tlie 
depth at whieh the eoiniK iisatiim of the exeiss nf matter at the 
surface (eontinents) by defect of ilensity i)rIo\v. and of surface 
defect of matter (oceans) !>y excess of matter below is <-oniplete. 
At and below tliis depth tlie condition as to stress of any element 
of mass is isostatic, that is. any element of mass is subject to 
e(iual pressure from all directions as if it were a port ion of a perfect 
Huid. From tliis it ap|«ars tliat the behaviour of the niaf;ma, 
situate beyond 71 miles, is that of a liciuid. 

As earthtpiakes are so intimately bound up with stresses, 
we (|Hote Hayford: "In terms of stresses it is safe to say tliat 
these geoiletic observations i)rove that tlie actual stresses in and 
about the I'liited States have lieen so reduced by isostatic ad- 
i istment that they are less than one-tentli as jjreat as they would 
he if the continent were niaititained in its elevated jiosition. and 
the ocean floor maintained in its ilepresscd positionTliy the rigidity 
ol the earth. It is certain that for the United States and adjacent 
rfgions, including oceans, the isostatic coiii])ensation is more 
ilian two-thirds complete, perhaps much more." Hayford'.s 
result is one of the most brilliant mathematical deductions in 
geodesy and geophysics in recent years. 

Several have been adduced whieh contribute or may 
contribute to the proiluction of eartlujuakes. In investigations 
ene is sometimes led to the discovery of witlely different phenomena, 
vhich, however, synchronize with each other, thereby raising the 
question whether one is dep<'ndent upon the other, or whether 
both phenomena depend upon a common cause. Such a case is 
the possibility of a connection between latitude variations and 
earthquakes. On this point Professor Omori, <me of the foremost 
of seismologists, says: "From an examination of the mean 
monthly values of the latitude of Tokio, I have found that all the 
<lestructive earthquakes of recent years in Japan occurred exactly 
or very nearly when the latitude was at a maximum or mininmm. " 

Verily our solid earth is only so in a Pickwickian sense. 
The surface slides bodily over the figure of revolution, our excur- 
sions in latitude being about 26 feet. On solid rock we make 
marks as reference points, unalterable as we think, for levels and 
other measures. — the earth heaves but a sigh and our basal points 
lose their value. In despair almost we exclaim "Is their nothing 
stable on tliis earth?" 




I sliiill now refer to tliree notable curtlKiuake — the one in 
Canada in 1B63. the one of .luniai<'a in 1()!)2 and the one of Lima 
in 174ti. and shall j;i\e a few extracts from original sources. The 
extracts are jxThaps more adapted for a study in ethics than of 

In the Jesuit relations thi' Kfal eartlii|Uake of l(i6:i is fre- 
quently referred too, hut unfortunately the descriptions are .so 
wild and exanKprated that very little scientitii' value attaches 
theretcr, outside of the statement of its extent, and inferentially, 
I think, one can locate the fault or rift where the main displace- 
ment or adjustment took place. 

Lalemant writes under date Sept. 4, 166:i: " .\n eartluiuake 
extending over a region more tliau 201) leagues in length and UH) 
leagues in width, making 20.000 leagues in all, has shaken this 
whole country, and caused us to witness some prodigious trans- 
formations. .Moimtains were swallowetl up: forests were change*, 
into great lakes: rivers ilisa])|)eared, rocks were split and their 
fragments hurled to the very tops of the tallest trees; thunders 
rumbled beneath ()ur feet in the womb of the earth, which belched 
forth flames; doleful and terror-inspiring voices were heard; 
while whales and porpoises bellowed in the waters; in short, all 
the elements seemed aroused against us, anti threatened us with 

the disaster It made itself felt frf)m Islf 

I'ercee and (ias|)ee, which are at the mouth of our river, up te 
Montreal and beyond, as also in New England, Acadia and ()thei 
far-distant regions." The earthciuake happening on the Monday 
eve, Feb. .5, preceding Shrove Tuesday, had a salutary effect in 
preventing debauches commonly occurring on that day, *' thus 
Shrove Tuesday was fortunately changed into a Good Fritlay and 
also into an Easter. " 

"They saw very lofty hills striking together with brow.s 
opposed, like headstrong rams, then suddenly and instantaneously 
swallowed up in the yawning of the earth. " 

Father Charles Simon relates "that a man so shuddered at 
the sudden earthquake, although at other times he was brave, 
that his hair, bristling up with horror and standing upright, 
shook off his fur cap, " 

The following extract appears to furnish some proof that the 
adjustment and principal movement took place along the bed of 
the St. LawTcnce where our geologists of to-day have placed 
"The Great St. Lawrence and Champlain Fault," extending from 




beyond Anticosti along tlie channel of tlic St. Lawrcncp to tli( 
vicinity of Quebec anil thence by a gentle ciir\e to Lake Chain- 
plain: "It may be very easily inferred liow great was the up- 
heaval of th? earth, from the fact tliat sucli uiul .so great a river 
clianged its color, not for a Ijrief space of time. l)Ut for eight entire 
days, put on a sulphurous one. and kept it constantly; for, from 
the bowels of the earth, agitated in their nethermost depth and 
poured into it, and from sulphuro\is mines, its waters were dilute d 
with an abundance of li(|vud sulpliiir. " The earthi|uake lasted 
with ever increasing intervals imtil the following September. 

Coming to the earth<|nake at I'ort Uoyal, near the ))resent 
Kingston. Jamaica, <in .Iinie 7, WV2. the .\nglican minister there 
writes the following week (15 .Iiine): "Captain Ruden's 
upon the first concussion sunk into the earth, and then into the 
sea. with his wife and family, and some who were come to diiu' 

with him 1 saw the earth ojjen and swallow up a multitude 

of people, and the sea mounting in upon us over the fortifications 

the earth working all the while with new iiuitions and 

tremblings, like the rowlings of the sea I found the .sea 

had entirely swallowed up the wharf, with all the goo<lly brick 
hoiLses upon it, most of them as fine as those in Cheapside, and 

two entire streets beyond that In tlie space of three minutes, 

about half an hour after eleven in the morning. Port Royal 

was shaken and shattered to pieces, sunk into and covered, for 
the greater part by the sea. and will in a short time be wholly 

eaten up by it We guess that by the falling of the 

houses, opening of the earth and inimdations of the waters, there 

are lost 1,500 persons Our great an<l famous burial place 

was destroyed by the earthquake, whicli dashing to pieces the 
tombs, whereof there were hundreds in that place, the sea washed 
the carcasses of, who had been buried, out of their graves. 
From St. Ann's we hear of about 1 .000 acres of wood- 
land changed into the sea, and carrying with it whole plantations. 

Whole streets (with inhabitants) were swallowed up by 

the opening earth, which then shutting upon them, s(|uee2ed the 
people to death. And in that manner several are left buried 
with their heads above ground; (mly some heads the dogs have 
eaten, others are covered with dust and earth by the iieople who 

yet remain in the place, to avoid the stench The two 

great mountains at the entrance into 16-mile walk fell and, meet- 
ing, stopt the river At Yellows, a great motmtain 




split and, falling into tlie level land, covered several settlements, 

^)'"' Vi'Tiii,n liad his plantation removed half a mile 

from the place where it formerly stood, and now good provisions 
isrow upon it." Of the same earthquake Dr. .Morley "takes 
notice fh.!: lie had felt .several lesser shakes, and heard the noise 
often, which is very loud, and l)y those not used to hear it, may 
lie easily taken for a rustling wind, or hollow rumblinK thimder, 
l)Ut he says it hath some puKin;,' blasts jJeculiar to itself, most like 
those of a brimstone match, when lighted, but in a much greater 
degree, and such as a large magazine of brimstone may be sup- 
posed to make when on fire. He adds, that in I'ort Royal, and 
many places all over the island, much sulphurous combustible 
matter had been found, supposed to have been thrown out, upon 
the opening of the earth, which upon the first touch of fire would 
flame and burn like a candle. " In this earthquake at Port Royal 
the shore line subsided 26 to 48 feet beneath the sea. 

In the same year, 1692. po.ssibly synchronizing with the pre- 
ceding Jamaican quake was the severe one at Riobamba in the 
province of Quito, South .America.—" It shook the earth in such 
a manner that it bore off great pieces which were seen to run 
entire three or four leagues from the place where they had been 
before, and thus to remove whole fields, with the trpes and houses 
standing. This event occasioned the most extraordinary law- 
suits that were ever heard of, brought to Lima, to decide to whom 
these estates belonged: the party on the one side alleging that they 
were within his jurisdi( tion or lordship, and the other pleading 
that he was upon his own land. " 

This is the most pointed reference to law-suits resulting from 
earthquakes that I have come across. I think we must take the 
sliding about of the country nine to twelve miles with a grain of 

Imagine Ottawa waking up some fine morning to find itself 
up at Aylmer or Chelsea ! 

Coming now to the great earthquake of Oct. 28, 1746, in Lima, 
I shall quote a few sentences from the volume of the following 
.year describing the catastrophe: " But it is most cert .i that the 
two main principles of these dreadful mischiefs heat and 

moisture However, supposing such to be the, it 

does not at all hinder but, that the Almighty-Power may employ 
these natural accidents as the instruments' of punishment to a 
wicked people There was not before the late great 




calamity a iiKirc liccntioiis nixit upon the cartii. The clianuint! 
serenity of tlie cliniiile anil fruitfulness of the comitry, the plenty 
of all thinga, anil the seilate traniniility which the Spaniards 
perix'tually enjoyed, these, together with the evtretne heanty of 
the women, did not a little ecmtriliute to an amorous disposition, 

whieh was the prevailing passion of tlte inhabitants. " " Lima, 

being subjeet with very little intermissions, to such dri'ailfid 
calamities, one would imanine it was the haliitation oidy of crim- 
inals sent thither for punishment, or of the people who were 
weary of life, and not of .such who made it their clioice to live there. 
But so powerful are the allurements of riches, so bewitchiii); the 
hope of gain, as to make danger preferable to safety, and the 
continual fear of death reconcilable with the desire of living long 

and out of harm's way Of all judgments, procei'iling 

from natural causes, which the Deity often inflicts on offenders, 
in order to satisfy divine je.stice and manifest his almighty power, 
the uncxiwcted stroke of sudden earthquake hath ever lieen the 
most tremendous, for as much as in one and the same moment 
they became both tiie warnings and e.\ecutioner.s of its wrath ... 
...This fatal catastrophe liefel the place thirty minutes after 
ten at night, when the sun was :n five degrei-s ten minutes of 
Scorpio, and the moon in not much less of Taurus, so that these 
planets wanted very little of being in opposition, as they actually 
were in five hours and twenty-two minutes afterwards, an asjiect 
which by constant observation hath proved unfortunate in this 
climate; for imder its influence these convulsive kinds of agita- 
tion in the earth do most usually happen On this occasion 

the destruction did not so much as give time for fright, for at one 
and the same instant almost, the noise, the shock, and the ruin 
were perceived together, so that in the space of only four minutes, 
during which the greatest force of the earthc|uake la.sted, some 
found them.selves buried under the ruins of the falling houses, and 
others crushed to death in the streets by the tumblingof the walls, 

which, as they ran here and there, fell upon them The 

earth struck against the edifices with such violent percussions, 
that every shock Ijeat down the greater part of them. " 

"Of a total of abotit 3.000 houses within the city walls, scarce 
twenty were left standing, and of the estimated population of 
60,000 only 1,141 were killed. The small loss of life is due largely 
to the one-story buildings. " The seaport of Lima, Callao, with a 
population of 5,000 was wholly destroyed by a tidal wave accom- 




punyiiiK the carlluumke; only almm 2(10 PKcaped. Shiiw were 
thrown liiKh anil dry over Calluo. 

In rcttilinK the ilcscriptions of these old earthquakes one ean- 
not hut |)erceivc a eertain mental attitu<le of the |)eople towards 
the plienonienon, and that attitude may best perhaps he ex- 
pressed hy suyiuK \vith Shakesi»>are "Conseipnce does make 
{■ of us ail. " 

The San Kraneiseo earthipiakc so fresh in your minds, and 
whieh has l)een so miieh descril)e(l and illustrated, will Ik- dealt 
with briefly. The great mountain masses in California running 
parallel to tlie coast, and the adjoining oeean depths of the I'aeifie 
are conducive, as already indicated, to earth(iiiakes. The break 
would naturally occur about midway between these depths and 
the mountains, and furthermore along the weakest line thereabouts, 
that is, along an old geological fault, as wa.s actually found to Iw 
the The displacement of the surface adjoined this old 
fault or rift, which nms northwest-southeast in an almost ma- 
thematical straight line for .several hundred miles. The nearer 
to this line, the greater was the displacement or earth movement. 
Along the rift the greatest horizontf.l shifting was IfiJ feet, the 
western side moving northward, while the eastern side moved 
southward. The maxinuim vertical motion was about 4 feet. 

It may be mentioned that our Ottawa Observatory seismo- 
graph registered the arrival of the first tremor or shock seven and 
a third minutes after its occurrence, which is equivalent to a 
six«d of transmission of 340 miles per minute. 

The disturbing force varies probably inversely as the square 
of the distance from the rift, but as far as destruction to buildings 
is concerned it depends very materially too on the nature of the 
groun<l upon which the building stands. This was well illustrated 
at San I>ancisco, where the earthquake da.iiage was almost ex- 
clusively confined to made or alluvial ground, that part of the 
city that had been reclaimed from the tide flats. This is an im- 
portant point and one that will not be forgotten in future con- 
struction in earthquake areas. 

The Kingston earthquake of last January, although more 
destructive of life than the San Francisco one, yet as a world- 
shaking phenomenon was very much smaller than the C Ufornia 
one of last April, for the minimum amplitude or r.A'ing of the 
recording instrument at Ottawa was nearly twenty times greater 
for the latter than for the former. Earthijuakes are generally 




judgeil by tlicir ilcstruitivenrss to man ami liis wcjrks. This 
(Jeppiuls on how npur or doKo li city or habitations uri> to the rift, 
where the ureatcat «hakinK takes plaee. Kartli(|Makp instruments 
are, however, oblivious to man or his toy works, lliey record simply 
the working of mother earth; so that the (treat earlhiiuakes of 
the seismologisi are not necessarily co-incident with the great 
earthi|iiakes of man. 

In the calamitous earthcpiake r]f Valparaiso last Kith Angusi, 
it is reiMirted that the harbor is now ten feet shallower than before 
that e-, nt, and that the motion was mostlj- vertical. 

Tiie most noted vertical movement of recent years was the 
.Alaska fpiake of Sept. 10 and 1."), IHIH), when the uplift along the 
Yakutat coast for upwards of a KM) miles was many feet, reaching 
its maximum in Disenchantment Bay where tlie land rose 47 feet. 
The last (juarter of a century stands out pre-<'minenlly as 
the nuist marked in seismic disturbances of which we have any 
historic record, it began with that catai-lysmic explosion lif 
Krakatao m 1883, noted for the red sunsets that followed for the 
next two years, due to the »Ms|)ended dust in the upjier regions of 
the atmosphere. Of the im[)ortant disturban<'ps we may mention 
those of Ischia near Naples; Tara.iera, Xew Zealand; Charleston, 
South Carolina; Mino-Owari, the climax of the many thousands 
of shocks in Japan; Alaskan coast already referred to; Saint 
Pierre in the West I.idies; Formosa: Wsuvius; and the recent 
iiuakes at San Francisco, \'alparaiso and Kingston. It is estim- 
ated that the loss of life resulting from these disturbances is at 
least 150,000. 

The question naturally occurs, whether we in Canada have 
much to fear, or even anything to fear from destructive earth- 
quakes. Speaking generally, I say no, and this especially for 
eastern Canada bordering the Atlantic; for we have tbere not that 
marked contrast of mountain ma.sses and o<'ean <lepths. and our 
St. Lawrence with its long chain of settling basins in tiie great 
lakes carries comi)aratively little suspended matter to load the 
ocean bed to produce stresses. When, however, the question is 
asked, should a severe earthquake hajipen. where will it 
most likely occur? Then we are pretty safe in predicting that it 
will occur along our weakest part of the crust of the eartli. and 
that is, along the Great St. Lawrence and Cliamplain fa\dt. follow- 
ing the lower part of our ocean stream, already described as the 
line of the great quake in 166.3. As a matter of fact we have more 




trcniMiiijt ilowii llii'n> now, especially in the vicinity of Kboiille- 
ment, near Murmy Hiiy, than elwwliiTe. As an parthc|iiBkp risk 
(or any of our liTp- cities. (Juelwc would have to [my the highest 

Should an partli(|»ake visit Ottawa, the chance is remote, 
the Observatory would l)e more affected than the Parliament 
Buildings, for the former is within stone's throw of a line of weak- 
ness in the earth — the so-called (iloucester fault. 

Time does not |)ernut lue to siieak of earth(|uake instrumi its. 
I will simply .say that one can not but marvel rt their sensitive- 
ness. They tell us what is gning on in the earth when our senses 
are wholly imable to detect the slightest disturbance or nunpment. 
Whether the old earth heaves a sijjh in its lon(£ strujsjtle against the 
inevitable when rigor morlis will s«'t in, l)e it in .Japan or Italy, in 
Chile or Alaska, these sil' observers, that literally have their 
ear to the ground, nirte the pulsations as they pass in their journey 
round the world. How gladly would the seismologist latmch his 
little canoe on the seismic wave at thehypocentreorstarting place, 
and just see whither anil how fast the wave would carry 
There would be no harbor, no resting place, the course followed 
woulil Ih? the one prescril)ed by nature,— following the line of 
least resistance. Tlie log of such a journey has yet to be written, 
and when it is written we will know more about the crust of the 
earth, and of the interior than we do now. 

I'.S.- Since the above was written Professor T. J. .1. See has 
.sent me a lopy of his paper "The (.'auses of Eartlu|uakes, Moun- 
tain Formation and kindred Phenomena, connected with the 
Physics of the Earth, " read Oct. 19, 1906. 

Professor See is an able investigator. He devotes 140 pages 
in the Proceedings .American Philosophical Society to expounding 
his theory. He dismisses all other theories and hypotheses as 
inailequate for the explanation of the phenomena indicated by 
the title of his |)aix'r. His own theory is that we have to turn to 
the explosive force of .steam for satisfactorily answering the ques- 
tions suggested above. On the last page he writes: "The great 
layer of water covering the earth which gives life to animals and 
plants, and in the form of steam is the greatest mechanical agent 
of man, when sunk into the crust becomes also one of his worst 
(- stroycrs, on account of the explosive vapor generated Ijeneath 
by the internal heat of the globe. " 

On p. 324 we read: "We thus seem compelled to abandon 




the construction theory entirely, and to explain both peaka and 
ranges Arith vheir striking parallelism to the coast liy upheavals 
occurring near the sea, due to the explosive power of steam, which 

has heaved up the mountains from iM'neath And lastly 

it shows that all mountains are alike inside, wl.othcr they burst 
open ond Iwcome volcanoes or remain intact." 

The same agency he advances for producing earthquakes and 

This post-script is not the place to present and discuss the 
paper at length. 

'iowever, one is safe in saying that geophysicists and seismo- 
logists will not tacitly say amen, when Professor See exclaims 
" Eu; !ka."